"The Voice Of The Sluggard"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: Watt's poem is a description of the lazy person and what happens to him, with a highly didactic ending; following his description of the sluggard, the poet expresses gratitude to God, knowing that he might well have become such a lazy person; he also expresses gratitude to his friends, who have seen to it that he has learned the joys of work and reading, thus avoiding the fate of the poem's subject. Watts describes the sluggard as one who lies abed late in the day, who trifles with his working hours, who fails to weed his garden, who fails to care for his clothing, who wastes his money, who seldom reads his Bible, who dislikes thinking, and who spends his time in reverie. In Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Chapter 10, appears the famous parody of this poem–"'Tis the voice of the lobster . . ." This is one of many instances of Carroll's parodies becoming more famous than the originals. Watts' description begins with the sluggard's hating to rise from his bed:

'Tis the voice of the sluggard; I hear him complain,
You have wak'd me too soon, I must slumber again.
As the door on its hinges, so he on his bed,
Turns his sides, and his shoulder, and his heavy head.
A little more sleep, and a little more slumber,
Thus he wastes half his days, and his hours without number:
And when he gets up, he sits folding his hands,
Or walks about sauntering, or trifling he stands.